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Time to Deal?

With the February 27 trade deadline fast approaching, I sought out General Manager George McPhee between periods last night in Pittsburgh to ask him about his strategy over the coming week.

And while he wouldn't reveal much, he did provide a little insight into what might transpire.

It doesn't appear that any deals are pending, but McPhee said he's dispatched scouts all over the league to evaluate the players who are available. They are calling other teams and taking calls, too.

One of the areas McPhee is looking to bolster is his corps of top six forwards. With Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin both in prolonged scoring slumps, it's really proven to be a major deficiency in recent weeks.

It was my sense that a lot of what happens at the deadline will have to do with the contract situations of both Richard Zednik and Dainius Zubrus. The club is in talks with both players, but I don't have the impression that either of the upcoming UFAs is close to re-signing. The Caps want to retain both players--but at the right price and length of term for a rebuilding team on a budget. If the sides don't get closer in the coming days, things could get interesting.

It left the interview with the impression that things could go either way as the deadline nears, and that not even McPhee is sure just yet what's going to go down. They could re-sign both Zednik and Zubrus and have a quiet week. Or we could see a flurry of minor to midsize deals.

I'll have more on this in tomorrow's paper.

What are your thoughts?

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  February 19, 2007; 5:42 AM ET
 
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